MANILA, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) plans to take legal action against comedian and performance activist Mae "Juana Change" Paner for improperly wearing a military uniform during a protest action against President Rodrigo Duterte's State of the Nation Address.
According to the Philippine News Agency, Brigadier General Restituto Padilla said on Thursday, July 27, that "Ms Mae Paner, popularly known as 'Juana Change,' has inappropriately used our military uniform and disrespected it since she is not a member of the Armed Forces of the Philippines nor a part of our Reservist Corps."
Padilla explained: "Her act of illegally using an AFP uniform is in violation of Article 179 of the RPC (Revised Penal Code) [or the Unauthorized Use of Uniforms] and RA (Republic Act) 493 [or the Prohibition of Use of Insignias, Decorations, Badges and patches prescribed for the AFP]."
He added, "We will take the necessary legal action to hold Ms Paner accountable."
A separate statement released by the AFP reminded civilians not to wear the military uniform without authorization, as it "impacts negatively on the image of the Philippine Army and the Armed Forces of the Philippines."
The statement also referred to the security implications of wearing the military uniform, as "lawless elements have often worn military uniforms to carry out atrocious activities." Criminals may also wear the uniform to impersonate soldiers.
The AFP reiterated, "We must instill pride in the service and in the uniform and accord it due respect."